Today I will be talking about how you can improve your finances.

Have you ever looked at your finances and wondered what you could to do to improve them? Even if you are in a great financial position, I am sure there is something you may want to change.

If you’re struggling to handle your money and stressed about paying the bills, good financial management can seem out of reach. But your finances can improve with a bit of ongoing effort and diligence.

Just like improving your tennis swing or your piano playing, you can develop smart money practices with some practice each day too.

Your financial situation won’t change overnight, but you’ll find yourself more knowledgeable about finances and better at money management over time.

Here’s some tips on how to improve your finances.

 

 

Improve your finances

Make a budget

All of my posts seem to start with “you need a budget”, but without one, your finances will never improve.

If you’ve been avoiding doing a budget because you think a budget is restrictive, I’m going to tell you that’s the furthest thing from the truth.

A budget is freedom and what you will most likely find from doing one is that you’re going to feel like you got a big, fat raise!

I’ll never forget the first time I did a budget. We had so many leaks in our finances. What I mean by that is that we were making too much money to be as broke as we were.

But the problem was we had no idea where the money was going.

When you first start budgeting, it’s not only a good idea but absolutely necessary to track your spending.

This will give you a clearer picture of where your money is actually going.  A great place to start would be to begin writing everything that you spend, down.

After a month, you will begin to see a clear picture. Your bank statements are another excellent resource for finding out where your money went.

When I put everything down on paper, I found money that we didn’t know we had and where the leaks were in our budget.

You’ll be amazed that when you begin to give every dollar/pound a name, you’ll most likely have more money to work with.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to create a budget, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Set specific financial goals

Having financial goals is great because it keeps you motivated to work towards something you actually want to achieve.

Financial goals are very subjective and not one size fits all. One person’s financial goal might be to become a millionaire by 50, and another person’s goal might be to get out of debt by 30.

It all depends on you and your specific circumstances.

Once you know what your goals are related to your finances, you can start coming up with a plan.

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If you are someone who has a lot of debt and wants to pay it off before you turn 30, look at how much you owe. Then, calculate how much you would have to pay every month until you reach 30 to pay it all off.

Sometimes, you may find that you can’t reach those goals in the exact time-frame you set out for yourself.

And that’s ok. In that case, set smaller goals which will ultimately get you to your bigger goals and to where you want to be with your finances.

Related post:

Want help setting goals? See my post for setting SMART financial goals:

 

 

Check your habits and track your spending

Always track your spending and always be aware of your money routes. If you will not track your spending, your budgeting will not be as efficient as it should be. Before budgeting for your next month, when you track your last month’s spending, it becomes easy to create a budget and make any changes you need for your next month.

You might agree with me that every purchase we make seems to be very important to us. We are living in a materialistic culture, where much of the attention is given to owning things, even if we don’t need it.

I think you will agree with me on this one that If you want to achieve financial freedom, you have to track your spending and figure out the unnecessary purchases.

It will be easy to figure out your budget when you know, exactly where your money is coming and where it is going. There are a lot of apps to track your expenses but you can do it old school way also. Take your pen and paper, and start writing down your expenses.

Tracking your spending for even just a month will give you a far clearer picture of where your money is going and what you need to work on in your budgeting plan.

You can use an app if you prefer that method.

I’ve listed a few awesome money trackers below for both UK and US readers:

These are all completely free to sign up to, so take advantage of the software and have a go at tracking your spending and finances for the month.

This is one of the best habits you can develop to improve your finances.

Related post:

Would you like advice on cutting down your monthly expenses, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Make a list of all your debts

Start with your smallest debt, such as a store credit card, and move to your largest, like your mortgage.

Make a note of which debts can be paid off within months, and which could be paid off in a few years. The small debts with the highest percentage fees are the debts that you will want to focus on the most, so you can cross them off of your list and get closer to living debt free.

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Look for debts that you could possibly consolidate to give you one lower monthly payment instead of several different debts to pay off.

Consolidating your bills to pay off multiple debts with a single monthly payment could help you lower your overall monthly bills and reach your savings goals more quickly.

I would highly recommend the debt snowball method, this is what I used. More info on this can be found below.

Related posts:

Would you like to learn more about advice on how to pay off debt, but don’t know where to start? Then see our posts below:

 

 

Have an emergency fund

Life is full of uncertainties and it’s on us to be prepared for anything that life might throw at us. Do you have a plan in place for the unforeseen circumstances that may arise in future?

How long can you feed your family if you suddenly happen to lose your job?

How much are you prepared if a shutdown were to occur in the company you’re working for?

Well, that’s not me being pessimistic. But everyone wants to have themselves and their family secured at any cost which is why having an emergency fund should be one of your topmost priorities.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to create a emergency fund, but don’t know where to start? Then see the post below:

 

 

Do a no-spend challenge

No spend challenges can be a great thing to do, no matter where you are in your finances.

A no-spend challenge can be done a few ways. You could choose to not spend in problem areas or impose a total shopping ban by not spending money on anything outside of necessities.

You can do them for a weekend, week, or one month. They’re challenging but effective to do. I’ve done them in the past, journaling in the process, and have always finished them with a new sense of how I spend money.

They can be a good way to get clear on your values and how you want to prioritise your spending.

Related post:

Would you like to know how to complete a no spend challenge? then see our post below:

 

 

Avoid new debt

Don’t get a new loan to pay off your current debt. In addition to paying loan-origination fees, it’s important to note that while your personal loan interest rate could be lower than your credit card rates, you will be locked into a set monthly payment for a specific amount of time, which could be higher than the minimum payments on your credit cards.

This means you could save money in interest, but your monthly payments may be higher, which could reduce your monthly cash flow.

Also, avoid signing up for low-interest credit cards that guarantee cashback. While you may get a little bit of cashback each month, you have to spend money in order to make money.

These cards aren’t worth it in the long run. Instead, pay with cash to avoid racking up credit card debt.

The best new debt to avoid is on a mortgage. Save as much money as you can for a down payment so when you take out a mortgage, the monthly payment will be lower.

Also, you will likely be able to qualify for a lower interest rate on a mortgage if you put down a larger sum of money upfront.

 

Have a positive money mindset

A money mindset is the attitude you have towards your financial situation.

If you have a negative mindset and continuously think this is the best you can do and it won’t get any better, then that’s where you’re going to be stuck.

If you always focus on what’s wrong, it’ll be impossible to stay motivated. By changing to a positive money mindset, you’ll start making better choices about your finances.

People who are never broke know that money always comes back to them. Just keep thinking to yourself or saying there’s more where that came from.

Related post:

Would like to learn more about how implementing a money mindset can help you achieve financial freedom and live a happier life? Then the post below:

 

 

Save save save

This might sound strange but it’s so important to save. If you truly want to achieve financial freedom, then saving must become normal to you.

For a long time, we didn’t save any money, partly because we felt that we weren’t in a financial position to be able to do so but also because we just weren’t used to it.

Saving actually felt like a punishment.

In order to save money, you have to have a positive attitude towards it.

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You must habitually, purposefully do it otherwise you won’t do it at all. Believe me, I’ve been there.

In the past, the only time I have successfully managed to save was when there was something that I really wanted and my goal was to reach it.

Like the time we needed a bigger house or the time we needed a second car.

Set yourself saving goals, long term ones as well as short term goals. This will make it so much easier for you to save up your money.

 

 

Look to increase your income

There are a lot of ways you can increase your income these days.

Many people choose to take on second jobs on their own time, such as freelancing or working in direct sales. Or just a part-time side hustle.

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You can also pick up a night job if you typically only work during the day. If your current place of employment could use some more help, talk to your boss about working overtime to get some more hours in.

Another way to increase your monthly cash flow is to consider getting a roommate, or getting on a family plan for your cell phone. You may even consider downsizing your living space if you are paying for a room that you don’t use.

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Check your credit card statements for accuracy

It’s worth looking over your credit card statements each month before you pay the bill. Your credit card company can send you a hard copy of your bill in the mail, or you can get immediate access to it online nowadays.

Check if your credit cards are being used fraudulently or you’re being charged extra fees. In the past, I’ve found mistakes such as being overcharged at a restaurant and being charged for a service I thought was cancelled.

 

Pay your bills on time

Pay your bills before they come due. You’ll avoid unnecessary late charges, which would give you more stress and more to pay.

Set reminders on your physical or electronic calendar so you know when bills are due. Then pay your bills online with a few clicks of the mouse or set up automatic payments so you don’t have to rely on a reminder at all.

Just ensure that you have enough funds in your account on your scheduled payment dates. You can also ask your credit card companies to change your due dates to align better with when you have funds in your accounts.

 

 

Improve your finances – Final thought

When you’re looking for ways to improve your finances, this is quite a list, but when you implement all or even some of these suggestions, you can’t help but see an improvement, not only in your finance, but also life in general.

What are some steps that you have taken to improve your finances?  Leave me a comment below and let me know what they are.

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